I will endeavour to be as un-self absorbed as possible in this section…
I am Liz and I live in Sheffield, England with my boyfriend/partner who I have been with for over 11 years.
We recently bought our first home over 4 years ago now (not so recent, then… Oh how time flies!) and I have been battling with the garden ever since.
That is an injustice to the previous owners who landscaped the entire thing, it wasn’t in a bad shape, and perhaps I ought to have said I’ve been battling with the heavy clay, rocks, bricks and wood since!
Initially I studied Design and Visual Arts at Uni and specialised in Illustration, I also have various other design, art and photography qualifications; however after being at Uni, visiting working illustrators and becoming somewhat disillusioned I decided the industry wasn’t for me and instead decided to get a run of the mill job. After 4 years working it became very obvious that I couldn’t hack working in an office; this was quite a shock to me, as I’d always thought I was someone who could work to live rather than live to work… I began looking to take other courses and settled on Urban Design which would enable me to use my design background… Sadly my local Uni had recently stopped their Urban Design course due to the course leader leaving and not having the staff specialism to continue. Instead I took an Urban and Regional Planning MSc and aimed to specialise in Urban Design. This meant I would be a town planner with design skills – something which is lacking in the industry at the moment. My plans are to eventually move into Urban Design or perhaps be a planning consultant with design knowledge and to advise local authorities or developers on both design and the legal aspects of planning. Preferably I’d like to be involved with green planning; so that would mean wild flower planting, green roofs and such and using the work of Nigel Dunnett as an example.
As a hobby I enjoy photography and it takes up a lot of my spare time. Over the years my camera collection has steadily grown, from the very early days of digital cameras through to now…
Our first camera was an Olympus way back when, it must’ve been in 2001, I stuck with Olympus and actually still swear by them; if only they had more lenses and were easier to get hold of the dSLR’s then I would’ve gone for Olympus. However after progressing through the digital compacts to the top of the range models which allowed for experimentation with apertures and such which brought back my college days of working with SLR’s and dark rooms; things I learnt slowly began to return.
I also have a small collection of film cameras, mainly polaroids and plastic toy cameras such as Holga which is quite well known for being rubbish; but it’s this poor quality that has its fans as various camera techniques can be used which are otherwise all but lost in the digital world.
When I moved to a dSLR originally I started with a Canon 350D and kit lens, it was playing with this kit lens and using photoshop, that I discovered my love for small apertures or ‘bokeh’. I then decided that the next lens I would buy would be a Canon 100mm macro lens which subsequently really opened my eyes. Until you use one yourself you never quite understand just exactly how all the backgrounds are blurred; and I appreciate that some people think I am using photoediting programs to produce the smooth backgrounds when in fact it’s the lens at work.
I then upgraded to the Canon 50D and my lens collection had also slowly increased to also include a telephoto lens – which I then managed to break – and a 50mm macro lens.
My most significant upgrade was initially intended to be to a 60D so I could move into filming short movies too, however instead I went to the Canon 7D and also got a Canon 70-300mm L lens. I do also have a tripod and remote, but they rarely ever get used – only usually during snow or to take shots at night and occasionally for bird photos (but since I broke my zoom, I rarely take bird photos).
I’ve since purchased a Canon 24-70mm 2.8L II USM lens, it was a toss-up between the 16-35mm and 24-70mm; I opted for the latter because I also have the 70-300mm lens and didn’t want a ‘gap’. Also, I’m no landscape photographer and felt I had less need for 16mm, especially as the main use of the lens will be in the garden I felt it would be wasted. Of course, I could also say to myself that perhaps if I had it, I’d be more inclined to try landscape photography… Do I not like it, because I don’t have the lens for the job or because simply, I’m not interested?? I know I don’t like HDR shots and it seems to be a common technique in landscape photography.
I also feel it’s worth mentioning that I have a few camera apps on my phone that I like to play around with and quite often post on a community called ‘instagram’ which is also an app – I think only for iphone, but I’m not certain; try it out yourself if you can!